Now one year old, New Zealand's first commercial wind farm, Hau Nui, logged 11.5 GWh from July 1996 to May 1996 -- an impressive output according to US wind energy consultant Paul Gipe, even though it was less than the predicted 12.8 GWh. But average wind speeds at the Martinborough site during the period were 8.8 m/s, less than the 9.7 m/s annual wind speed measured prior to the plant's installation. Gipe said the output for the seven 500 kW machines, supplied by Enercon of Germany, was comparable to the best sites anywhere in the world. Adding more clout to the year's results, Paul Botha, from the Pacific office of UK wind consultants Garrad Hassan, reminded participants that, "Hau Nui is one of very few wind farms worldwide operating in the absence of subsidies or premium prices." Wind energy in New Zealand must also struggle to compete with a strong hydropower based set-up, as well as having to take into account a transmission pricing philosophy that ignores the ability for appropriately sited wind farms to reduce transmission costs, he added.
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